After 13 years of formal education, it seems almost unjust that you have to endure the wait between finishing exams and accessing your results. We know that waiting for December 14 can be a stressful, exciting, nerve-racking – even overwhelming. Indeed, ATAR anxiety is real, and is often fuelled by uncertainty around how to use your time before ATAR release.

If you’re waiting diligently for ATAR Day to arrive, the question is: how can you deal with the time between now and then? The important thing to realise here is that preparation now can lead to a less stressful December 14 (and beyond) – and that’s surely a good thing.

Research your options – now

“Research” should be the word of the week. Naturally, it’s difficult to know if a course will be right for you until you pursue it, but there are some things you can do in order to make the most educated decisions you can. Ultimately, being armed with a better understanding of your situation and options can save time, save money, and save stress.

So – how can you actually do this? Here are some ideas:

Speak with unis directly

At this time of year, universities are aware that the graduating class will have questions, and as a general rule, they’ll be more than happy to help you where they can. You could consider calling them or, if possible, visiting in person.

Getting your results can sometimes raise more questions than it answers, and some universities will run specific Change of Preference events after ATAR release for this reason. These are good to keep an eye out for; they can help you through the Change of Preference period, particularly if you have specific questions about that institution. For example, RMIT University’s Change of Preference Expo is running on Monday 17 December.

Speak with friends, family and students

Perhaps the best indication of whether or not a study option will be right for you will come from chatting to friends, family and other students. Your friends and family know you well, and can provide insight into what sounds best for you – but, of course, keep in mind that you’re choosing a path for you, and not for anybody else.

Chatting with current university students can also be really valuable. They can explain university transitions, let you know in simple terms what their experiences have been like, and answer any questions you have about university life. If you don’t have anybody in mind you can talk to, you can always ask any uni questions you have on the ATAR Notes Forums!

Consider how to get to where you want to be

If you don’t get the ATAR you’re looking for, there are options available to you. Like, lots and lots and lots of options. Having a solid understanding of your Plan A, Plan B and Plan C before ATAR Day can go a long way to making the whole process a little more palatable. If you don’t hit the ATAR you need to enrol in your dream course, two options include:

  1. Enrolling in a different course at the same institution with lesser requirements.

  2. Enrolling in a similar course at a different institution with lesser requirements.

The idea here is to transfer your way to your dream course. Whilst neither of these methods guarantees direct entry, they provide options to work your way to where you want to be through hard work and good grades. You can read more about transferring university degrees here – it’s actually quite common!

If these options aren’t suitable or applicable, you might also consider a different pathway through other study options. A number of institutions over things like Diplomas, which you can use to get your foot in the door. These options are certainly worth considering; keep in mind that, quite often, there’s no obvious solution, and things aren’t always black and white.

Getting through the next few days

Of course, there’s only so much research you can do before you get sick of thinking about VCE and study options – you are on holiday, after all! So here are some quick ideas for things you can do with your time between now and ATAR Day:

Take a trip away

There’s no better away to get out of the VCE bubble than to, well, get away! Take a few days with friends and family to explore and enjoy your time off. Or, alternatively, make the most of some alone time to give yourself the chance to reflect and reset before your next chapter.

Organise yourself

Messy room after exams? Unrecognisable desk? We don’t blame you, but this is a great opportunity to get things back in order. Recycle those practice SACs, get rid of things you no longer need, and enjoy the cathartic process if de-VCEing.

Pursue neglected hobbies

No matter what you love doing, VCE might have taken a toll, and now you have the time to pick up the enjoyable things you had to put on the back-burner! Of course, it’s also an amazing time to pick up a new hobby. Always wanted to learn German but never really had the chance? Why not start now?

Want more support?

Remember: your results are just the start of your journey – not the end – and if you’re looking for additional support in order to make those educated decisions, you don’t need to look too far.

As mentioned above, ATAR Notes is always around to help you out as much as possible, and our University Discussion Forums are a good place to start.

Otherwise, different universities have various support options through this period before results, and also through the important Change of Preference period, including hotlines, expos and campus tours to help with your decisions.

You’re not alone in this journey, and we’re here to help you as much as you can. We’re wishing you nothing but the best of luck for December 14!